“People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace.” -Proverbs 10:10
When I read this verse from Proverbs I immediately think of two things:
1) My dog Penny. She loves to hop up right in front of you on the couch and get her chest rubbed until she goes almost comatose. At this point she gets a little lazy, yawns and sticks out her tongue way further and a tongue should be able to go, and then she looks at you all bleary-eyed and winks. It is crazy cute (almost as cute as the winking koala).
2) I imagine the wink and a nod that a Grandpa gives to his grand babies when mom or dad leaves the room after pointing out to the kids (who know better) and the grandpa (who most certainly knows better) that something they were doing was wrong.
Now, as I write this my wife is but hours or days away from giving birth to our first child–Emery. I can already see a time when my Dad tries to get back at me for all the ways I subverted his authority throughout the years.
When you are a grandparent you get certain liberties.*BE ADVISED it doesn’t work if you undermine your spouse in this way by making mommy or daddy the bad boy or girl of the house.*
Pulling the “grandparent card” is all well and fun for the most part. What is not okay though is a wink and a nod when it comes to legitimately sinful behaviors whether it be those of a friend, spouse, child, etc. Unfortunately I observe this phenomena all to often (and I have been and will probably be guilty of this again in the future). When it comes to having tough conversations with our kids or friends about spiritually destructive behavior, instead of “a bold reproof that promotes peace” as our text suggests, we give a sideways nod to the behavior. It usual says, “Oh I wont tell anyone. What the h**l,” or “I see what you are doing and you know I disapprove but lack the backbone to do anything about it.”
In my short experience as a pastor (and as an human being) I find the “trouble” of these “winks at wrong” to be incredibly stunting to spiritual growth. It sends a couple of messages:
1) We take more serious our role as “friend” then our role as a brother or sister in Christ (or actual parent).
2) For a kid, teen, youth, or young adult, if we are the types of friends, parents, or mentors that wink at their wrong doing while we are supposed to be the spiritual authority in their lives, they tend to pick up a view of God (or more usually the “friendly Jesus” perception) who is perfectly content with the dumb or damaging things they do, “heck, they are only human right”? Wrong.
Take some time to day to reflect on the truth that God sees the wrong things we do and wishes to bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing; not permission to continue our bad behaviors like the winking grandpa. How are you reflecting the character God to your kids, friends, co-workers? In Christian love do you own someone a bold reproof? It may not feel like this action leads to peace immediately. Ultimately though, what matters is we find peace with a holy God. Are you the type or person who goes with the crowd with a wink and a nod? I imagine there where quite a few of those in the mob who shouted for the crucifixion of Jesus. Also self-reflect: Are there patterns or behaviors in my life that I know are wrong that I continue to do anyways because I see Jesus as a “buddy buddy” but not LORD?